3D Printing for Functionality

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Design Manufacture and Engineering Man


Summary of Engineering Design Challenges

Current CAD systems do not support the modeling of material gradients and anisotropic properties
The current solid modeling representation - Boundary representation, represents the boundaries of a solid which is not suitable for attaching physical meaning to a component as it contains no information about the volume inside. Engineering simulation techniques like Finite Element Methods are based on a volumetric partition of a solid into small elements. As a result conventional design processes start by specifying the desired geometrical forms and subsequently assign homogeneous material compositions at the macro level to the already predefined volumes. In other words material gradients and anisotropic properties cannot be specified especially at different spatial resolutions. In summary: at present simultaneous form and variable material properties specification with interactive design CAD interfaces is not feasible.

Industrial Impact Consequences
Limited Design Space
Current CAD systems are restricted to only geometric and shape degrees of freedom at the macro-scale and as a result performance driven design cannot be implemented.

Design by Additive Manufacturing
The use of current CAD systems result in printed products which are redesigns of existing products rather than new superior products driven from Design by Material Science.

Aims & Objectives
1. Develop and implement a new Material Model fundamentally extending current purely geometric CAD models
2. Develop a new formal Engineering Design language for user interactive specification of multi-scale anisotropic material properties

An integrated material and geometric design method and tool will be developed resulting in optimized part functionality by simultaneous exploiting geometrical and variable material property degrees of freedom. The expanded design space will provide more opportunities for optimization and result in new shape-material combinations and a drastically higher optimized customized performance and establish the proposed new design paradigm: Design by Geometry and Material Science.

To achieve the "3D Printing for Functionality" project aims two scientific objectives have been set.

The first scientific objective aims to cover the following identified engineering design challenge: Current CAD systems do not support the modeling of material gradients and anisotropic properties. New material models will be developed to allow the representation of material properties and anisotropic gradients across multiple scales. This will open the road for the development and application of multi-scale topological optimization methods to result in drastically new component designs satisfying both local and global functional requirements. Within the "3D Printing for Functionality" concept the component design will proceed with the intimate collaboration of engineering designers for the macro bulk part behaviour and material science designers for the micro surface part behaviour: the wall of communication between engineering designers and material designers will be broken.

The second scientific objective aims to cover both previously identified engineering design challenges by bringing the new "3D Printing for Functionality" approaches within the hands of the engineering and material designer. This will require the development of a new formal shape-material language so that the designer can interactively work within the new Design by Geometry and Material Science environment. The interactive work will consist in specifying shape and material properties at different scales as well as calling upon topological optimization tools within their CAD environment.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509760/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1824742 Studentship EP/N509760/1 01/11/2016 30/04/2020 Kyle Burnett